Why our Munna (aka Sanjay Dutt) cannot step into parliament...

Monday, January 19, 2009

Samajwadi Party was quite lucky to have secured the victory of actress Jayaprada in the last election. But, can the star power work again? History might not repeat this time. Amar Singh's whole intention might not be to get Lucknow into SP's kitty, but use Sanjay Dutt as a scapegoat to achieve his party's political ends by making him a 'start campaigner'. Amar Singh knows that Sanjay Dutt  cannot get a suspension order from Supreme court (will tell you why) and even if he manage to get such order, he might not win the election due to the fact that Lucknow is a traditional strong hold of BJP and no one has challenged Atal bihari Vajpayee. Even if BJP's patriarch (Vajpayee) doesn't contest election from Lucknow this year, chances of Sanjay Dutt's win are bleak as many sections of the society in Lucknow are divided over support to Sanjay Dutt.
It is not clear if Vajpayee will contest. There were rumours Shatrughan Sinha might enter the ring if Vajpayee calls it a day. "We want him to contest. Even a child will tell you he just has to fill his nomination papers to win," says BJP leader and Vajpayee's election manager Lalji Tandon. 
The SP has tried to counter Vajpayee's charisma with star power before. Raj Babbar in 1996 and Muzzaffar Ali of Umrao Jaan fame in 1998 challenged him and failed. In recent times, only Congress nominee Karan Singh gave him a decent contest in 1999. Lucknowites are divided on Sanjay Dutt.
"It is strange that the party (SP) which is threatening to withdraw support (to UPA) over terrorism is fielding a person charged under Tada," says former Lucknow University vice-chancellor Roop Rekha Verma. "Where are we taking the standards of politics if we have convicts like Sanjay Dutt against Vajpayee," asks playwright Mudra Rakshas [DNA]
The idea of giving ticket to convicted star like Sanjay Dutt sounds like a death blow to the very foundation of Samajwadi party's socialist democratic ideology. Amar Singh and his party has shown that in today's competitive politics only 'ends' matter, no one gives a damn about means; ethics and morality never to be talked about. Legally, as of now, Sanjay Dutt cannot contest elections since he has already been convicted for a "serious offense" and also served the jail term. He can contest only if he gets a stay order from Supreme Court for his conviction and election commission has to approve his candidacy. If one analyse the intensity of Dutt's offense and the context, it will be quite conspicuous that he won't get a chance to contest elections.

  1. Article 8 of Representation of People act says
    • Clause (3): A person convicted of any offence and sentenced to imprisonment for not less than two years shall be disqualified from the date of such conviction and shall continue to be disqualified for a further period of six years since his release.
    • So, clearly, Election commission will not entertain Dutt's candidacy unless there is an extraordinary ground provided by supreme court.
  2. "I see no reason when my brother Sidhu can be allowed to serve the nation why I cannot be allowed to do the same", says Sanjay Dutt. But the fact is Sidhu's case and Dutt's case are completely different and not even comparable.
    • Sidhu was accused of unintentional murder, but Dutt has been accused of keeping weapons at his house and was convicted by the Supreme Court which upheld the judgment of the trail court. 
    • Also, Sanjay Dutt has served sentence and he is barred from contesting.
    • In Sidhu's case Supreme court "observed that the 1988 Patiala incident happened all of a sudden without pre-meditation and it was not a case where he took advantage of his position as MP in the commission of the crime. The court said he had set "high standards" in public life by vacating the seat after the Punjab and Haryana High Court ruling [The Hindu].
    • In case of Sanjay Dutt, his involvement in the 1993 blast, directly or indirectly, is a threat to the national security. In Sanjay Dutt's case, the whole offense was not an accident. This is obvious from the fact that arms and ammunitions were recovered from Dutt's residence.
  3. In 2007, Sanjay Dutt narrowly escaped the conviction under TADA act but he was convicted under Arms Act which is slightly lesser crime. It must be noted here that, Representation of People act  disqualifies the person convicted under TADA, for contesting elections. "It was alleged that justice P D Kode discriminated Sanjay Dutt by not convicting him under TADA act. It's well know fact that, Aziz Ahmed Shaikh, a 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blasts convict, had moved the Supreme Court challenging his conviction under the TADA and alleged favour shown by the designated judge to film star Sanjay Dutt [report]" though Mr. Dutt was committed similar offense. So, the questions relating to intensity of Mr. Dutt offense are still not completely answered. We can, for a significant extent, conclude that Supreme court will not be soft on Sanjay Dutt to suspend his six year jail term.

Suppose, in worst case, if Sanjay Dutt gets a chance to contest elections, and if he manages to win (which is most unlikely), then it really doesn't make any difference and after some time, no one gives a damn about his win and "he making any difference to the society", which anyway he is not going to make! Sanjay's Dutt's episode is just a tip of the iceberg. There are already over 120 (alleged) criminals sitting in Parliament and making the laws for innocents! I recommend every one of you to take a look at this document (criminal cases.doc) which tells you the story of widespread criminals in our political system. To give you a glimpse of it, "there are 120 MPs with criminal cases against them out of 543, or 22.1%. Among the major parties, the BJP has 29 MPs with a criminal record, the Indian National Congress (INC) 24, the SP 11, RJD 8, CPM 7, BSP 7, NCP 5 and CPI 2."

We, the people of India, end up electing criminals to make laws for innocents and pass on the blame to those very lawmakers and the government in power. Let's ask not what the Netas have done for us, but what we have done to elect them. Get your voter ID, cast your vote and make it count!

Read More:
  1. Sidhu's conviction stayed (Supreme Court's observations) - The Hindu.
  2. TADA Court favored Sanjay Dutt.
  3. Criminals in Indian Politics, Social Watch Report.
  4. Criminals cases statistics document  from From Association for Democratic Reforms. Alternative link.
  5. Candidates's Criminal and financial background report submitted by Election commission of Karnataka. Alternative link.
  6. SP to field Sanjay Dutt from Lucknow - The Hindu.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Manju,
Good one ...
Hope supreme court will boot out Sanjay Dutt ... I wish to se him Behind bars.


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This work by Manjunath Singe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License. The views and opinions expressed in this work are strictly those of the author and do not represent his employer's views in anyway.